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Pichit Chuenban Amid Speculation of Cabinet Role and Yingluck’s Potential Return: Thailand’s Political Chess Game

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Imagine a world where political maneuverings play out like an intricate dance of chess, with each move meticulously planned and executed. In the heart of this complex web stands Pichit Chuenban, a figure being whispered about in the corridors of power for a potential role in Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s Cabinet. Why, you might ask? His strong connections with the influential Shinawatra family could be his ticket into the political limelight.

But when confronted with the buzzing speculation that Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s former Prime Minister, might end her self-imposed exile and return home this October or perhaps later in the year, Pichit plays his cards close to his chest. “I really don’t know. I know nothing about the timeframe. I’m only taking care of her case,” he states, keeping the world in suspense.

His comments come on the heels of a revelation by Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra — himself a former PM and no stranger to controversy — during a heartfelt visit to their hometown of Chiang Mai for the Songkran festival. Thaksin expressed his hope to celebrate the next year’s festival with his sister on home soil, stirring the pot of political gossip.

Should Yingluck decide to navigate the journey back to Thailand, Pichit emphasizes that she must tread through the proper legal channels, hinting at a “similar model” to her brother’s process. But lest you think it’s all favors and closed-door arrangements, Pichit is quick to note that Thaksin’s lighter sentence and parole were all above board, products of a royal pardon and not preferential treatment.

Indeed, whispers of a backroom deal to facilitate Thaksin’s return had swirled around last August, igniting debates and speculation. These were fueled by his sudden release from detention at the Police General Hospital, where he had been serving time, to parole – ostensibly for reasons of health and age.

In a tangle of legal and political narratives, Pichit also reveals he hasn’t had the chance to discuss any plans with Yingluck since informing her about her acquittal in a case this March. Yingluck’s journey has been fraught; ousted by a military coup and later fleeing the country to avoid prison time for a Supreme Court verdict regarding negligence in her government’s rice-pledging scheme. But recent months have seen her acquitted in two separate Supreme Court cases, offering a glimmer of hope for her supporters.

The saga extends beyond the Shinawatra siblings, looping Pichit into its narrative web. Once serving a six-month jail term over a plot to bribe Supreme Court officials, Pichit’s past is as colorful as it is controversial. Initially slated for a Cabinet position in PM Srettha’s government, his journey took a detour amidst widespread criticism over his historical baggage.

And yet, amid swirling rumors that his loyalty to the Shinawatra cause might yet earn him a prestigious position in the PM’s Office, Pichit remains enigmatically tight-lipped. “I know nothing. I am focused on my work and have not discussed it with the prime minister,” he declares, perhaps a tad too modestly, leaving us all wondering about the next twist in Thailand’s political drama.

In a landscape where politics, loyalty, and intrigue intermingle, the tales of Pichit, Yingluck, and Thaksin Shinawatra serve as a riveting narrative, underlining the intricate dance of power and redemption. As spectators, we can only wait eagerly for the next move in this enthralling saga that continues to captivate and confound.


  1. ThaiEnthusiast April 18, 2024

    This entire situation feels like a political soap opera. Bringing back Yingluck could really shake things up, couldn’t it? But it smells like there are a lot of backroom deals happening behind the curtains.

    • SimonT April 18, 2024

      Absolutely, it’s like watching chess, but with higher stakes. However, we can’t ignore the fact that if Yingluck returns, it’s because of a carefully negotiated path. Politics as usual, but intriguing nonetheless.

      • ThaiEnthusiast April 18, 2024

        Right, SimonT, it’s the negotiated nature of her return that raises questions. Is it about legal justice or political maneuvering? That distinction could change how the public perceives her comeback.

      • BangkokBarry April 18, 2024

        You guys are missing the point. It’s not chess; it’s pure theater. The Shinawatras know how to play the victim and hero all too well. Yingluck’s return? Scripted drama.

    • PattayaPaul April 18, 2024

      I’d argue it’s too simplistic to call it backroom deals. Thailand’s political landscape is complex, and reconciliations are necessary for national healing. Yingluck’s return could be a step in that direction.

  2. PrayutFan101 April 18, 2024

    All I see is a potential for more chaos. The Shinawatras’ reigns had enough controversy. We need stability, not the return of old ghosts stirring the pot.

    • DemocracyDiva April 18, 2024

      It’s exactly that ‘old ghosts’ attitude that prevents progress. Thailand needs to face its political narratives head-on to move forward. Yingluck’s return could catalyze much-needed national dialogue and reconciliation.

  3. RiceFarmerNakon April 18, 2024

    Speaking as someone from the rural areas, Yingluck did a lot for us with the rice-pledging scheme. Her return might be controversial, but it symbolizes hope for many of us.

    • CitySlickerBangkok April 18, 2024

      That ‘hope’ cost our country billions and was mired in corruption. It’s important to look beyond immediate benefits and see the big picture. Her schemes were economically disastrous for Thailand.

  4. LegalEagleTh April 18, 2024

    Everyone’s talking politics, but let’s not forget the legal hoops Yingluck has to jump through to return. The ‘similar model’ to her brother’s process seems like a soft landing is being prepared. Interesting from a legal perspective.

    • Constitutionalist April 18, 2024

      Indeed, the legal process here is fascinating. But let’s question the integrity of this ‘similar model.’ Is it just another way to say that laws bend for the powerful? The precedence it sets is problematic.

  5. JuntaJunkie April 18, 2024

    Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion here, but Thailand prospered under military rule. Strict, yes, but it kept the country stable. Political dynasties only benefit themselves, not the common folk.

    • FreedomFighter April 18, 2024

      Stability at what cost though? Human rights abuses and suppression of free speech? ‘Stability’ under military rule is just another term for control. We should aspire towards genuine democracy, where voices like Yingluck’s are not silenced but heard.

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